SALT LAKE CITY -- A contractor digging a trench for a new water line hit human remains that archaeologists believe are 1,000 years old.
Plumbing contractor Don Selby didn't expect to uncover a human skull Monday about five feet under a homeowner's front yard in Salt Lake City with a backhoe.
"We said, 'We better get out of the trench and call police,"' Selby recounted to KSL-TV. "It's kind of a new experience for us. It was a little bit eerie. I wasn't sure if something went awry."
Authorities waited for state anthropologists to examine the site. They uncovered a full skeleton believed to be a Fremont Indian.
A half-dozen other Fremont remains have been found over the years in the same area, a popular residential district known as Sugarhouse.
The lack of artifacts with any of the remains is consistent with how the Fremont buried their dead, anthropologist Derinna Kopp said.
No other remains were found in the same trench, she said. Koop couldn't immediately determine if the skeleton was that of a man or woman. The remains were taken for an examination that could determine which modern-day tribe might be able to claim them.
Failing that, the state plans to lock the skeleton up in a burial vault in Emigration Canyon where Indian remains are kept.
Selby was back digging Tuesday to replace the water line.
"What are the chances of that being directly by where we were digging?" he said of the remains. "If we were a foot away we would have missed it."